Never Too Old to Learn, Thanks to Senior Community's Scholarship Program

May 24, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ATLANTA (May 12, 2016) -- Going away to college can easily mean moving 50, 100 or several hundred miles away from home. For Steve Njuguna, it meant moving 8,000 miles away and waiting more than 10 years before pursuing his dream to become a software engineer.

Njuguna moved from Kenya after high school in 2005 to join family here in Atlanta. He said it took a number of years to learn the American culture and get on his feet before he could contemplate college.

Today, at 31, he works at Lenbrook, a not-for-profit retirement community in Buckhead, from 7 a.m.to 3 p.m. and attends class at Georgia Perimeter College from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every week. Just two more classes this summer and he will have his associates degree in computer science. Then it's on to Georgia State University in the fall to complete his bachelor's degree.

Njuguna's grateful for Lenbrook's Associate Scholarship Program which helps offset a portion of his college expenses. "I am very fortunate to work for a company that truly cares about its employees and their futures," Njuguna said. Working as a Lenbrook valet since 2010, he's quick on his feet and eager to help residents as they come and go from the bustling community.

"I remember one resident who used to always ask me, 'Are you in school yet, are you in school yet?' And another used to always tell us, 'If you want to make a difference in the world, you have to invest in yourself first.' So I'm very humbled by this scholarship and hope to create such an opportunity for others some day," Njuguna said.

The Associate Scholarship Program is funded by residents, associates, board members and friends of Lenbrook. The community's Human Resources Department administers the program with the help of the resident committee. "It's amazing and inspiring to see how many of our associates are going to school full time and working full time," said Jane Kummel, Lenbrook resident and Chairman of the Associate Scholarship Committee. "We hope this fund helps lighten the load for our associates who want to expand their skills and grow in their chosen fields," she said.

Kummel emphasizes how the scholarship program applies to both vocational schools and traditional colleges. To be considered, each associate must already be accepted to an accredited nonprofit college or vocational school, obtain a recommendation from their supervisor, submit an application with an essay, and maintain a specified grade point average. The scholarship awards are paid directly to the school on a semester basis through the duration of the associate's schooling.

Cheryl Dotson, 49, is another Lenbrook Associate Scholarship recipient who delayed her pursuit of an associates degree until last year. She came to work for Lenbrook 10 years ago upon earning her Licensed Practical Nursing degree from Atlanta Metropolitan College. But family responsibilities, such as caring for her aging parents while they were both ill, precluded having time for any more schooling.

Today, she's taking courses online with Excelsior College to pursue her associates degree in nursing and expects to graduate by 2019. "My mama and daddy told me you are never too old to learn, and I feel it's especially important to continue your education in the medical field. I want to better myself and to better equip myself to care for our residents here at Lenbrook," Dotson explained.

Brittny Luckett, who works in the concierge department of Lenbrook, is the third of Lenbrook's first three scholarship recipients in the 2016/2017 school year. At 27, she's pursuing her visual merchandising degree at Georgia Perimeter College and also expects to graduate in 2019.

"We've made associate development one of our top three company goals here at Lenbrook," explained Chris Keysor, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lenbrook. "Working with Ms. Kummel to bring this scholarship program to fruition has been extremely rewarding and it's gratifying to see the residents and others embrace and support this important mission," he said.

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Photo Cutline: Lenbrook Scholarship Committee Chairperson Jane Kummel (far left) and President & CEO Chris Keysor (far right) announced scholarship awards to three well-deserving associates: (left to right) Steve Njuguna, Cheryl Dotson and Brittny Luckett.

-- Photo by Myles Smith

About Lenbrook (www.lenbrook-atlanta.org)

Lenbrook is the first and only continuing care retirement community in Atlanta to achieve national accreditation by CARF-CCAC. Founded in 1983 and doubling its size in 2008, this not-for-profit senior living community in Buckhead enables its residents to enjoy the gifts of independence, good health and personal fulfillment through engaging programs and services. Its award-winning facilities also offer the security and convenience of excellent on-site, Medicare-certified health services for senior healthcare needs. Visit www.lenbrook-atlanta.org or call 404-233-3000 for more information.

Media Contact: Kathy Hart, 404-271-1489 or [email protected]